New Delhi, Jan 18:
Union Minister Arjun Munda was today elected as President of the suspended Archery Association of India (AAI) in its much-delayed elections, which were held here smoothly in the presence of three observers.
Enjoying the support of former AAI President Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Munda had a smooth sailing as he beat his rival BVP Rao by a margin of 34-18 votes.
Munda’s entire panel secured majority share of votes and were elected for a full tenure of four years.
Pramod Chandurkar of Maharashtra defeated Maha Singh of Chandigarh 31-21, while captain Abhimanyu Sharma (Haryana) became the senior vice-president with a 32-20 win over G A Ibopishak Sharma (Manipur).
Rajendar Singh Tomar of Uttaranchal defeated Samikhya Nanda Das of Odisha 34-18 for the post of Treasurer.
A total of 31 state associations were part of the AAI but only 26 states — each having a share of two votes — casted their votes.
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Jammu and Kashmir were not part of the electoral college.
There were a total of 52 votes to elect the 19-member executive committee consisting of President, Secretary General, Senior Vice-President, eight Vice-Presidents, seven Joint-Secretaries and one Treasurer.
A three-time Jharkhand Chief Minister, the 51-year-old Munda is a hugely popular tribal leader who also runs an archery academy which was instrumental in the rise of former world number one Deepika Kumari.
“The faith placed in my team for the next four years is overwhelming and gives us strength with a sense of responsibility at the same time to work vigorously for fulfilling the aspirations of the association and to make the country a superpower in the world map,” Munda said in a statement.
“I assure all the people those who are connected with archery directly or indirectly and our countrymen that their expectations from the game of archery will be met.”
The elections were held as per the Delhi High Court order. The two factions clashed for the first time in the presence of an World Archery (WA) observer in Kazi Rajib Uddin Ahmed Chapol.
The WA Asia region Vice-President Chapol will now submit its report based on which the the world body will take a call on conditional lifting of the suspension.
Munda further said that the priority now would be to lift the suspension and provide all facilities to the archers ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in six months’ time.
“Lifting ban of the World Archery, restoring the recognition status of the Association with the Ministry of Sports, setting up more more archery academics, streamlining the activities of the Association, generating funds through sponsorships etc are in our priority list,” Munda said.
At present, India has already secured a team quota in men’s and one individual quota in women’s section.
“Securing full quota places in women category for Tokyo Olympics, preparing Indian team for Olympics, international events providing all necessary facilities are our priorities,” Munda said.
For retired IAS officer, Rao, who represented the Assam Archery Association, it was a bitter pill to swallow as he had been waging a war against the Malhotra regime.
“I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, the fight for reforms will continue. Reforms in sports administration has slowed down under Modi government, particularly under former Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore,” Rao said pointing out that the Olympian-turned former Minister did not bring former sports persons into federations.
“The Sports Code clearly stipulates that 25 per cent of sports persons should be in the management of sports associations.
“I am glad I was elected as the President of Archery Association when archery Olympians we’re allowed to vote in the last election. I only hope due voice is given to sports persons in the affairs of their own sport,” he added.
He congratulated Munda for his win.
“I wish good luck to the newly-elected President of AAI Arjun Munda and hope he will have enough time to manage Indian archery being a Cabinet Minister in Modi government,” Rao said.
“I am sure World Archery will lift suspension of Indian archery soon and Indian archers would participate in the Tokyo Olympics under the Indian flag.”
Rao was elected AAI President on December 22, 2018, bringing an end to the era of Malhotra, who served as head of the national body for 40 years from 1973 to 2012 before being de-recognised by the government.
But Rao had to quit after the Supreme Court gave a ruling for fresh elections and set aside the AAI Constitution as amended by Delhi High Court-appointed administrator S Y Quraishi.
The two groups led by Munda and Rao then in June last year elected themselves as Presidents, in two separate elections held simultaneously in New Delhi and Chandigarh, leading to AAI’s suspension by the World Archery.
President: Arjun Munda (Jharkhand)
Secretary General: Pramod Chandurkar (Maharashtra)
Senior Vice-President: Capt Abhimanyu Sindhu (Haryana)
Vice-Presidents: Amarinder Singh (Chandigarh), Rupak Debroy (Tripura), K K Jadam (Rajasthan), Rupesh Kar (Bengal), Chetan Kavleka (Goa), Kailash Murarka (Chhattisgarh), Paia Banylla War Nongbri (Meghalaya), D K Vidyarthi (MP)
Joint Secretary: Dinesh Bhil (Gujarat), K B Gurung (Sikkim), Ram Niwas Hooda (Haryana), Sumanta Mohanty (Jharkhand), Komjum Ribba (Arunachal), Joris Paulose Ummacheril (Kerala) and Shihan Hussaini (TN).
Treasurer: Rajendar Singh Tomar (Uttaranchal). PTI